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Garda told: Stay away or be killed, Nash trial hears

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Mark Nash

Mark Nash

Mark Nash

A MAN on trial accused of a 1997 double murder warned a female garda who approached him to stay away or he would kill her, a jury has heard.

Mark Nash (42), who had last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

They lived in sheltered accommodation in a house attached to St Brendan's Psychiatric Hospital in Grangegorman in Dublin 7.

Yesterday three gardai from Mill Street Station in Galway gave evidence about seeing Mark Nash push a bicycle on the Tuam Road in Galway on August 16, 1997.

Mr Brendan Grehan SC, acting for the State, called his first witness, Garda Caroline McKenna formerly of Mill Street station in Galway who is now on a career break. The court heard Garda McKenna was a passenger in the patrol car being driven by Garda Gerry Curtain as well as student Garda Raymond Wimms.

They were driving along Two Mile Ditch, on the Tuam Road, when they came across a male pushing a bicycle, who fitted the description of a man wanted for the serious assault of a Sarah Jane Doyle in Roscommon on August 16 in 1997.

Ms McKenna told the court how Garda Curtain stopped the car and she along with student Garda Wimms got out of the car to approach Mr Nash.

When she asked the male his name, he replied: "I'm Nash, stay away or I'll kill you."

"With that Mr Nash put his hand into his pocket, I thought he was about to produce a knife but it was a hammer," she said.

Ms McKenna told Mr Grehan how the accused proceeded to throw his bicycle over to the side of the road and run off.

"Nash started to walk back towards the Tuam direction in the middle of road, there was traffic on the road, I was fearful he would try to hijack a car so I started waving cars on to keep them moving," she continued.

Ms McKenna told the court that Mr Nash was then knocked down by a van, but quickly jumped up, picked up his hammer and used it to smash the window of the van.

Mr Nash then proceeded to run up the lane of a house and the gardai gave chase.

"He grabbed an elderly lady and pulled her into the front of her house through the porch area, but her son managed to come out and pushed Nash onto the street," said Ms McKenna.

Mr Grehan then called on now retired Garda Gerard Curtain, who was driving the patrol car on the day, to give evidence.

Mr Patrick McGrath SC appearing for the accused, asked Garda Curtain did he remember Mark Nash suffering a wound to his head.

BATON

"The wound resulted from him being hit by a garda baton," added Mr McGrath

Garda Curtain didn't recall Mark Nash either having a wound to his head or a baton being used.

Mr McGrath told the court that the doctor who later examined Mark Nash at the police station said he had a laceration on his head, an abrasion on his face as well as three superficial abrasions over his fingers and an abrasion on his knee.

The third witness for the day called to give evidence was Garda Raymond Wimms, a student garda at the time.

Mr Harnett asked Garda Wimms did he see Mr Nash being struck over the head with a baton?

To which Garda Wimms replied: "Garda Curtain would have struck him more than one blow, on the upper body probably, Garda Curtain was behind me, as we were struggling with Nash, Garda Curtain used his baton, I couldn't say how many times. I just remember seeing the baton coming in from the side," he said.

The trial of Mark Nash continued in legal argument and will resume next Tuesday.

hnews@herald.ie


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